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Old 10-26-2005, 05:27 PM
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Forget Hybrids, America; Diesels Will Provide Economy, Performance

Forget Hybrids, America; Diesels Will Provide Economy, Performance
The Detroit News

By Neil Winton (Commentary)

Oct. 26, 2005

GRANADA, Spain Peugeot of France doesn't sell its cars in the U.S., but its new 407 Coupe (pictured) is powered by an engine that will induce a warm glow in Americans.

The engine is a diesel, and it means that Americans forced by high gas prices to seek alternatives to fuel-guzzling motors can do so without making sacrifices.

The new car, launched here in October, is powered by a 2.7 litre V-6 diesel which is quieter than a gasoline engine, has so much torque that its acceleration is blistering and instantaneous, does an average 27.6 miles per U.S. gallon, and most important of all, the engine is made by Ford and is already used in top-of-the-line Jaguars and Range Rovers. This is no smokey, under-powered, bag-o-nails old diesel rattlebox. It is creamy smooth, quiet, sophisticated, and environmentally friendly.

To be fair, Ford makes this latest technology common rail diesel engine in a joint venture with Peugeot. But the capability of the engines like these in terms of economy and refined performance makes Europeans wonder why Americans are making such a fuss about hybrid engines.

Despite all the hullabaloo about hybrids, experts predict that by 2012 Americans will be buying roughly twice as many diesels as hybrids. By then, diesels will also be able to match the toughest emission regulations set by California.

The runaway price of gasoline has forced Americans to look for more economical fuel. Sure, the gas-electric hybrid engines powering the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX400h are breathtaking technological achievements. But they are heavy and expensive. And claims by Toyota that the Prius will average 54.7 miles per U.S. gallon have not been borne out in Europe, where you can expect around 42 mpg (35 miles per U.S. gallon). Diesel-powered cars like the VW Passat can easily better that, and can combine frugality with much better performance than the Prius.

You would expect leaders of big European manufacturers to echo this idea, and they do, describing hybrids as an expensive blind alley.

"Despite the big public debate right now, it (hybrids) will just be a niche technology," German luxury car maker BMW AG chief executive Helmut Panke told Reuters at the Tokyo car show.

"They (hybrids) do not have long-term economic prospects because they are a lot more expensive to produce (than diesels) with the same results," said Jean-Martin Folz, chief executive of French mass car manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Experts like Peter Schmidt, editor of the pan-European bi-weekly newsletter Automotive Industry Data, reckon that Toyota's hybrid venture, although an impressive engineering program, was more of a public relations exercise.

"Toyota lacks one fundamental element -- image - unlike BMW or Mercedes. Toyota cleverly used the environmental theme to boost this," said Schmidt.

Schmidt agrees that diesels are at least the match for hybrids in terms of economy and performance at a cheaper price, but says the crucial element in diesel success in America will be its ability to match tough new laws curbing emissions of soot or particulates, and dangerous nitrogen oxides (NOx).

"Exhaust emissions from diesels will easily meet the next laws in 2007, which don't differentiate between petrol and diesel, and diesels will easily meet significantly tougher laws coming up, particularly in California; these can be met without sweat, no problem whatsoever," said Schmidt.

According to Schmidt, three hurdles need to be jumped in diesels' race to be clean:

" Quality of fuel - Late next year a U.S. federal law will force diesel fuel's sulphur content down to 15 parts per million, comparable to European levels of 10 ppm.

" Particulate emissions - That nasty black soot which diesels used to spew out has been eradicated by particulate filters, now commonplace on European diesels.

" NOx filters - Diesels emit more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than gas engines, but emissions can be reduced to comparable levels by fitting a de-NOx filter, an additional catalyst. Mercedes "Bluetec" technology is an example of this.

Automotive research firm J.D. Power and Associates agrees that diesels will be clean enough to compete and its latest data predicts that by 2012 almost twice as many diesels as hybrid cars and light trucks will be sold in America - 4.1 percent hybrid market share versus 7.6 percent diesel. In 2004, hybrids powered about 0.5 percent of cars and light trucks, with 3 per cent diesel.

"We are assuming that diesels will make the tough emission standards," said J.D. Power analyst Anthony Pratt.

Pratt reckons that the U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of global hybrid sales, with 23 percent in Asia and only 7 percent in Europe. He doesn't expect hybrids to make much of an impression in Europe because diesels, which account for a whopping 50 percent of car sales currently, are so well established there.

Why then did BMW recently announce that it had joined the General Motors and DaimlerChrysler alliance to develop its own hybrid engine? VW, and its subsidiary Audi, also said they had joined Porsche to develop a hybrid.

"California is a very important market for luxury brands and some vehicles will have to be able to drive with zero emissions some of the time. Luxury manufacturers must look as though they are environmentally friendly, they need to have at least one vehicle to prove their green credentials," Pratt said.

Alliances also show a lack of conviction about the future of hybrids, which currently add about $3,000 to the cost of each car.

"These alliances indicate they (manufacturers) don't really accept the technology. They are spreading the risk because they don't have much confidence in its (hybrids') future," said Pratt.

John Lawson, European auto analyst for investment banker Citigroup, reckoned that European manufacturers' belief in hybrids was not very deep.

"They see it as a way of selling more SUVs in the U.S. There's low expectation that European consumers will pay up for the additional engineering. But they can see some potential in the medium term for next generation hybrids which will be able to run entirely electric in town," said Lawson.

It is likely that some towns in Europe and possibly the U.S. will decree sometime in the future that only electric vehicles can be used in rush-hour traffic.

Lawson agrees that American's enthusiasm for diesels is gathering pace, led by oil-burning VW Jettas, Passats, and Beetles, although the gas-station infrastructure needs to be improved. Diesel pumps need to be moved from the truck sector to the car area.

AID's Schmidt has no doubts.

"Diesels are all round superior to hybrids in terms of running costs, manufacturing costs, flexibility in town and highway, they are winning hands down. Hybrids' only plus? A marginal advantage in very heavy traffic congestion," said Schmidt.

So will Ford send that creamy V-6 diesel engine to America? I'm sorry to report the answer is no.

"Ford has no plans at the moment to use this engine in the U.S.," said a spokesman.

Come to think of it, that doesn't sound like a very serious "no".

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Old 10-26-2005, 05:40 PM
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Somebody wake me up when they invent the Hybrid-Diesel.
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Old 10-26-2005, 05:57 PM
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Viva la Peugeot diesel
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Old 10-26-2005, 06:09 PM
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Wake Up

http://www.newcarnet.co.uk/NCN_1062_firstimparchiveitem.html

Unfortunately, it looks like Toyota is going to shelve the technology.

So, no diesel hybrid anytime soon.

Glenn
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Old 10-26-2005, 06:41 PM
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Glenn....don't worry there is the

BLUETEC HYBRID

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Old 10-26-2005, 07:11 PM
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Hybrids are not that great, the mileage is good but not awsome and the cars are complex. I feel comfortable wrenching on an S600 and the Prious looks like a rocket ship to me. Come on owning one as they get older isn't practical. Also so far the only Hybrids that get mileage numbers high enough to make them worth buying are the Prious and that Civic one Honda makes.

The Lexus and Ford SUV are a joke come what what do they get like 5mpg better then the regular versions? I bet it only costs you $3k to save that little extra fuel, you can buy a lot of gas for $1k.

Give me a nice simple E320CDI that gets 40mpg any day of the week. That is a real rwd full size car as well with all the comforts.

Ford won't bring over that V6 diesel until the consumer demands it and they can sell a few hundred thousand a year. Wait until gas goes up another $1 a gallon.
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Old 10-26-2005, 09:13 PM
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You must be very smart

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatterasguy
Give me a nice simple E320CDI that gets 40mpg any day of the week. That is a real rwd full size car as well with all the comforts.
A nice *simple* E320CDI??? The only maintenance repair I could dream of doing on a 320CDI is to use my very real MIT diploma to wipe the dipstick clean... BTW, do these cars even have dipsticks anymore, I somehow suspect they might not??

Sorry to disagree, but I wouldn't dream of thinking myself capable enough/smart enough to service a 320CDI myself. Glad to hear that for you CDI is a technology you are able to handle. As for me, I hope the hydribs also advance. We will need to make use of biodiesel and electrically stored energy in the future to transport all of the masses. This is my 1-1/2 cents.

Anyway, $60,ooo price tag to stylish fuel efficiency is absurd. For a daily driver I will take a diesel Toyota Yaris imported to the USA anyday, and enjoy driving in a less consumptive, less luxurious way on a daily basis. But that's me.
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Old 10-26-2005, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
This is no smokey, under-powered, bag-o-nails old diesel rattlebox.
Hey!!! My car is famous! It's finally gotten the recognition that it has long deserved!

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Old 10-26-2005, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatterasguy
Hybrids are not that great, the mileage is good but not awsome and the cars are complex. I feel comfortable wrenching on an S600 and the Prious looks like a rocket ship to me. Come on owning one as they get older isn't practical. Also so far the only Hybrids that get mileage numbers high enough to make them worth buying are the Prious and that Civic one Honda makes.

The Lexus and Ford SUV are a joke come what what do they get like 5mpg better then the regular versions? I bet it only costs you $3k to save that little extra fuel, you can buy a lot of gas for $1k.

Give me a nice simple E320CDI that gets 40mpg any day of the week. That is a real rwd full size car as well with all the comforts.

Ford won't bring over that V6 diesel until the consumer demands it and they can sell a few hundred thousand a year. Wait until gas goes up another $1 a gallon.

E320CDI is a sweet car...but also one thats financialy out or reach for most people here.......Benz makes affordible lower models in Europe but they don't want to cater to the unwashed masses this side of the big pond.
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Old 10-26-2005, 09:27 PM
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The guy that wrote the article about diesels saving money must not have known how much diesel costs in the USA!

Next trip we make South will be in our gasser(E320 V-6), even although it uses premium, it's milage is as good as our '85 300D and it's easier to find gas than diesel.

That Peugot at 26.7 mpg is not that great on fuel. The hybrids are a lot better than that. But a VW diesel is comparable with the Japanese hybrids and much less complex.
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Old 10-26-2005, 10:12 PM
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I always thought diesels were a better choice for the "fuel conscious"; hybrid is okay, and it's a nice step, but why not just offer more diesel choices? Simple technology that is reliable and works.

Two of my three cars are now diesels, and I'm can't wait until 2007 when we start seeing Lexus diesels, BMW diesels, VW diesels, etc.
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Old 10-27-2005, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PagodaLover
A nice *simple* E320CDI??? The only maintenance repair I could dream of doing on a 320CDI is to use my very real MIT diploma to wipe the dipstick clean... BTW, do these cars even have dipsticks anymore, I somehow suspect they might not??

Sorry to disagree, but I wouldn't dream of thinking myself capable enough/smart enough to service a 320CDI myself. Glad to hear that for you CDI is a technology you are able to handle. As for me, I hope the hydribs also advance. We will need to make use of biodiesel and electrically stored energy in the future to transport all of the masses. This is my 1-1/2 cents.

Anyway, $60,ooo price tag to stylish fuel efficiency is absurd. For a daily driver I will take a diesel Toyota Yaris imported to the USA anyday, and enjoy driving in a less consumptive, less luxurious way on a daily basis. But that's me.
Pop the hood on one. It lookes just like the old school 603/606 I6 with a different head on it. Some of the accessorys like the water pump look almost the same. Sure the injection system is a bit more complicated but it ain't rocket science either.

$52k new unless you go nuts with the options, in a few years they will be able to be had for half that.

It is a real shame MB doesn't import more diesel's to the US, a C class wagon with a diesel would be so cool.
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Old 10-27-2005, 02:29 PM
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Americans don't want the reality, they want the fairy tale - preferably spoon fed to them, a la Disney.
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Old 10-27-2005, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Burton
Americans don't want the reality, they want the fairy tale - preferably spoon fed to them, a la Disney.
I am not so sure......people seem ot flock to the VW diesels even with the problems they are famous for...

THe market is there.....
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Old 10-27-2005, 03:33 PM
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I agree, they are likely to be a great value to purchase used in four-five years. Maybe then any kinks will have been ironed out by the PO and the dealer, but not for purchase now....

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